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Laurence Powell Music Scores

Identifier: MS P87

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Materials consist of 161 items, each a score with accompanying parts of musical compositions by Powell.

The collection was originally arranged in five series. A sixth series was added to accommodate a collection of master sheets housed together in C1150 in 19 folios. C1150 corresponds to Box 13.

To accommodate the needs of the EAD finding aid, materials have been arranged into subseries, with each subseries corresponding to an individual composition with score and accompanying parts. All materials retain their original physical arrangement. Materials are not arranged consecutively. The specific location of a particular item is listed in the subseries descriptions as an loc. number. Loc. numbers correspond to box and volume numbers as follows:

Loc. 688: Box 1 Loc. 689: Box 2 Loc. 690: Box 3 Loc. 691: Volume 1 Loc. 692: Volume 2 Loc. 693: Box 4 Loc. 694: Volume 3 Loc. 695: Box 5 Loc. 696: Box 6 Loc. 697: Box 7 Loc. 698: Box 8 Loc. 699: Box 9 Loc. 700: Box 10 Loc. 701: Box 11 Loc. 701a: Box 11a Loc. 720: Box 12 C1150: Box 13


  • 1920 - 1973


Conditions Governing Access

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Conditions Governing Use

No copying of any score without written permission from Powell or his heir(s).

No performance of any score without written permission from Powell or his heir(s).

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

Laurence Powell was born in Birmingham, England, in 1899. He attended Ratcliffe College in Leicester (1909-1915), and Ushaw College in Durham (1915-1917). He studied with composer Sir Granville Bantock at the Birmingham Midland Institute School of Music in 1919-1922. In 1923 he emigrated to the United States, becoming a citizen in 1936. He completed his education at the University of Wisconsin, where he taught music theory. There he married Eleanor Finegan, a violinist and director of music education at Birmingham University. He graduated in 1926, receiving a Master of Arts degree.

After graduating Powell was hired as an assistant professor of music theory by the University of Arkansas; he remained in that position until 1934. He also served as the music critic for the Fayetteville Daily Democrat. He began dividing his time between Fayetteville and Little Rock, setting up the Little Rock Junior College music department; in 1934 he joined the faculty of the college fulltime.

In Little Rock, Powell became close friends with poet John Gould Fletcher. Along with Fletcher and folklorist Vance Randolph, he took a strong interest in Emma Hays Dusenbury, a folksinger who resided near Mena in Polk County. Powell accompanied Allen Lomax to make recordings of Dusenbury’s songs for the Library of Congress. From the recordings, Powell transcribed and notated the music.

In early 1937 he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the Resettlement Administration. His area included Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas. His most notable assignment was the Woodlake Project in Texas. By Fall 1937 he returned to Little Rock Junior College, where he remained until 1939. While at the college he founded the Little Rock Symphony Orchestra, serving as its conductor.

In 1939 he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he served as the assistant state supervisor of the WPA’s Michigan Music Projects. He was also organist of St. Andrews Cathedral, a position he held until 1947. He later lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, founding the Sante Fe Orchestra (later renamed the Rio Grande Symphony Orchestra). He retired to Victoria, Texas, passing away on January 29, 1990.


8.5 Linear Feet (14 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of the muscial compositions of Laurence Powell.


This collection is organized into 6 series:

Series 1. Orchestral Scores Series 2. Chamber Music Series 3. Works for Piano Series 4. Works for Voice, Chorus Series 5. Dusenbury Material Series 6. Master Sheets

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Laurence Powell Musical Scores were donated to the Special Collections Division by Laurence Powell in 1973 and 1980.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Samuel Sizer; additional materials processed by Ellen Compton in 1980.



Laurence Powell Music Scores
Sizer, Samuel; Compton, Ellen
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States